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CD review MR. BIG "Defying Gravity"

Veröffentlicht am 15. Juli 2017 von Markus W. in Mr. Big, Paul Gilbert, Hardrock, Rock, Frontiers Music, CD Review

CD review MR. BIG "Defying Gravity"

(9/10)  Two weeks ago it was Riverdogs that released their well-crafted new longplayer “California”, followed now be another dinosaur in rock – Mr. Big. Eric Martin, Billy Sheehan, Pat Torpey and Paul Gilbert did it again. Three years after having shipped the first copies of “...the Stories We Could Tell” to the record stores, a new longplayer follows. Unfortunately Torpey couldn’t do all songs for the album due to the recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease but he’s is still a crucial part of the band with Matt Starr filling in for him when needed. That's true team-spirit. Next to the musicians it’s Kevin Elson who added to the good old Mr.Big spirit to "Defying Gravity". He was already at the helm when it comes to the first three longplayers, providing also in 2017 the sound that’s needed for this kind of music.

“Defying Gravity” is Mr. Big's ninth studio album and it features eleven new songs, all in the typical Mr. Big fashion. The quartet set some standards with their first two longplayers and everything the band released afterwards could easily live up to these standards. Mr. Big fine-tuned their sound over time, leading to this fantastic release that was recorded in just six days. This means that the album doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles. “Defying Gravity” was recorded by the guys, playing together in the studio which gives the album this warm and organic vibe.

I don’t know if the huge success of “To Be With you” was a blessing or curse. A lot of people reduce the band to this multiseller single release, but Mr. Big is far more than this acoustic ballad. No doubt, also the new longplayer has some calmer moments. “Damn I’m in Love Again” and “Nothing Bad (Bout Feeling Good)” will be the tunes during a live show with the venue is lit by many lighters (or smartphones these days) and there’s nothing wrong with it. These (half-)ballads are great songs, done by excellent musicians with the latter being even a real highlight on the album.

However, the majority of tunes on this release rocks pretty hard. “1992” is one of these cool track combining Gilberts furious shredding guitar parts with a catchy melody. Or listen to the three stage rocket in the beginning of the album that helps to get things off the ground. “Open Your Eyes”, the title track and “Everybody Needs a Little Trouble” are the perfect start into an entertaining rock album.

“Defying Gravity” might not turn the rocking world upside down but it raises the bar for all the other bands in hardrock and melodic rock. This album shows what’s possible if great musicians work on songs without having the ego as a centerpiece. Musical competence meets excellent songwriting meets passion meets team-spirit, that’s what “Defying Gravity” is about. Excellent stuff.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Open Your Eyes
  2. Defying Gravity
  3. Everybody Needs a Little Trouble
  4. Damn I’m in Love Again
  5. Mean to Me
  6. Nothing Bad (Bout Feeling Good)
  7. Forever and Back
  8. She’s All Coming Back to me Now
  9. 1992
  10. Nothing at all
  11. Be Kind

 

Label: Frontiers Music

Genre: Hardrock

Release Date EU: July 21st, 2017

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CD review PAUL GILBERT "I Can Destroy"

Veröffentlicht am 28. Mai 2016 von Markus W. in Paul Gilbert, News, CD Review, Rock, Hardrock, Classic Rock, Rock'n'Roll

(8/10) First thing that stands out with this album is the really cool artwork. What came to my mind was 'electric guitar land'. Ok, that's the first impression and packaging isn't unimportant, but when we talk about Paul Gilbert it is purely music that counts.

Fortunately the Mr. Big guitarist recorded songs for "I Can Destroy" that are all on a high level, tunes that can easily compete with the artwork. Again, we are talking about Paul Gilbert, a guitarist that is beyond any doubt.

I mentioned already Mr. Big, but the six-stringer was a crucial part of the fantastic Racer X too, whose "Street Lethal" release still belogs to my faves in guitar based metal music. But actually it's the solo albums of Gilbert that showed all his virtuosity and creativity.

Two years after he published "Stone Pushing Uphill Man" it's "I Can Destroy" that is the next treat for your ears.

The start is called "Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal, a cool swinging opener with a laid-back approach. The title track, "I Can Destroy" is next on the playlist. In general it's a hardrocker a la Kiss that speeds up in the middle, including a furious wild guitar solo.

"Knocking on a Kocked Door" can't come with anything else than a pumping rhythm. It's a good time rock'n'roll tune and I would say: Welcome to the 70's. A gently grooving song is called "One woman too many". It includes an intensive beat and a bluesy expression that reminds of Whitesnake. You can't stand still listening to this number that belongs to the best ones on the album.

Things get a bit more complex with "Woman Stop". It's a song that's harder to digest and it takes a while to get into this track, something that changes with "Gonna Make you Love Me, which is a pure rock'n'roller. Actually it's a danceable rock songs that reflects the 60's, in a modern outfit. This is no metal but ultra cool. Get your dancing shoes polished and here we go.

"I am Not the One" has cool intro with some a capella vocals; no new idea but still good. Gilbert's singing guitar follows and the tune becomes a fast rocker that is done very well.

"Blues Just Saving My Life", what else could it be than blues number. There are better blues tracks but Gilbert's guitar is what enriches this track that still has a lot of feel.

Is Sweet around? That's what you might think while listening to the catchy "Make It" while Mr. Big shimmers through at "Love We Had". Gilbert used the "To Be With You" formula and it still works.

"I Will be Remember", for sure since Paul Gilbert belongs to the best guitarists in rock these days. As this album proves, Gilbert has an enormous width of sounds and styles included in his guitar play. And he's a great songwriter too, a damn good combination that pays back on records like this one. With "Adventure and Trouble" we're getting closer towards the end of this longplayer. Actually it's the last track on the album that has with the Ted Nugent cover "Great White Buffalo" a bonus song, rounding off a well done album by a great guitarist. This album is containing real music that is ambitious and highly entertaining.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal
  2. I Can Destroy
  3. Knocking On A Locked Door
  4. One Woman Too Many
  5. Woman Stop
  6. Gonna Make You Love Me
  7. I Am Not The One (Who Wants To Be With You)
  8. Blues Just Saving My Life
  9. Make It (If We Try)
  10. Love We Had
  11. I Will Be Remembered
  12. Adventure And Trouble
  13. Great White Buffalo (Bonus Track)

 

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Hardrock

Release Date EU: May 27th, 2016

CD review PAUL GILBERT "I Can Destroy"
CD review PAUL GILBERT "I Can Destroy"
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Live review MR. BIG, Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, 18.10.2014

Veröffentlicht am 19. Oktober 2014 von Markus W. in Mr. Big, Billy Sheehan, Paul Gilbert, Hardrock, Rock, Live Review, News, Eric Martin

It was the first time that I have been in the new venue in Utrecht. The legendary and renewed Vredenburg is hosting again concerts and other activities and it was Mr. Big who made me going there on this Saturday evening. 

Actually it was more late afternoon, since there was a curfew at 21:00 due to another event. OK, unusual to go to a concert already around dinner time, but who cares.

The role of the opening act was taken by a Dutch duo called Scarlet Stories. They played an acoustic show with just guitar and vocals. I haven't heard about them before and I think they did a good job. But of course everybody was waiting for Mr. Big. That was the reason why people came to Utrecht.

Live review MR. BIG, Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, 18.10.2014

The four piece entered the stage a bit later than 19:00 and started with pure rock'n'roll. "Gotta love the ride" from the newest release was a perfect beginning, followed by the pumping "Daddy, brother, lover, little boy" and furious "American beauty" from "What if..". The tone of voice was set for the evening.

The great thing with Mr. Big is the fact that all muscians are belonging to the best of what you can get. And they don't have any ego problems. They entered the stage for making music and having fun together. Highly skilled musicians that play together as one unit - that's Mr. Big. And it's entertaining.

There is so much ease in the way they play live. Of course they have their songs, but there are still so much room for improvisation in their live music that makes it so exciting to see their shows.

There have been rumors that Mr. Big will also take Pat Torpey (d) with them on tour. In the beginning it was Burning Rain- and Ace Frehley drummer Matt Starr who took the place behind the drum kit. But there was something on stage that was covered. After a few songs it became clear that this was a small drum kit for Torpey. The drummer who got the diagnosis for Parkinson's disease joined the show and enjoyed it a lot. It even felt like he forgot the disease during the moments on stage. But it also shows that the band takes care about their band mates. I think this is worth a lot of respect.

Half way Mr. Big went from 'powerful electric' to 'soulful unplugged'. There have been the quite songs like "Wild world" and "Fragile". And of course also THE Mr. Big hit "To be with you" that has been performed. 

Towards the end it got heavy again with "Addicted to that rush" and esp. "Colorado bulldog". Real bouncers.

Due to the curfew the setlist was a bit shorter than the day before in the UK. However, it was still almost 2 hours of Mr. Big. And time was flying. 21:00 sharp, they had to finish and left happy fans with happy faces back in the Vredenburg. An excellent rock'n'roll evening in Utrecht combined with the hope that Mr. Big is coming back soon.

If they are still coming to your town, go there.

Live review MR. BIG, Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, 18.10.2014

Tracklist:

  1. Gotta love the ride
  2. Daddy, brother, lover, little boy
  3. American beauty
  4. Undertow
  5. Alive and kickin'
  6. I forget the beauty
  7. Take cover
  8. Green-tinted sixties mind
  9. Out of the underground
  10. The monster in me
  11. Rock'n'roll over
  12. As far as I can see
  13. Wild world
  14. East/West
  15. Just take my heart
  16. Fragile
  17. Around the world
  18. Addicted to that rush
  19. To be with you
  20. Colorado bulldog

 

Location: Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Date: 18.10.2014

Live review MR. BIG, Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, 18.10.2014
Live review MR. BIG, Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, 18.10.2014
Live review MR. BIG, Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, 18.10.2014
Live review MR. BIG, Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, 18.10.2014
Live review MR. BIG, Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, 18.10.2014
Live review MR. BIG, Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, 18.10.2014
Live review MR. BIG, Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, 18.10.2014
Live review MR. BIG, Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, 18.10.2014
Live review MR. BIG, Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, 18.10.2014
Live review MR. BIG, Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, 18.10.2014
Live review MR. BIG, Tivoli/Vredenburg, Utrecht, 18.10.2014
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MR. BIG concert review soon on MHMB

Veröffentlicht am 18. Oktober 2014 von Markus W. in Mr. Big, Billy Sheehan, Paul Gilbert, Hardrock, Rock, News

MR. BIG concert review soon on MHMB
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New song from MR BIG

Veröffentlicht am 9. September 2014 von Markus W. in Mr. Big, Hardrock, Rock, Paul Gilbert, Eric Martin, Billy Sheehan, News, Video

Multi seller Mr Big has worked on a new album which got the name "The stories we could tell". Release date is end of September. The review is soon on the blog.

The first song is "Gotta love the ride". It's a smooth hardrock groover with some smaller Whitesnake references ("Hit and run"). However, Martin, Gilbert and Sheehan know how it works to write good rocker. Not to forget Pat Torpey who unfortunately has to suffer from Parkison.

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CD review PAUL GILBERT "Stone pushing uphill man"

Veröffentlicht am 5. August 2014 von Markus W. in Paul Gilbert, Mr.Big, Racer X, Loverboy, Aerosmith, Instrumental, Rock, Hardrock, CD Review

(8/10) Paul Gilbert is one of the most important shred guitarists from the eighties and he still keeps this status till today. The albums from his band Racer X speak a clear language. Esp. the debut is still one of my all time faves.

Next to those more speed metal related releases Gilbert also played an important role in the rise of Mr. Big. He celebrated the biggest successes with the American allstar band. Songs like "To be with you" and "Green tinted sixties mind" are known by almost everybody.

"Let the guitar sing" is an often used term. Guitar wizard Paul Gilbert makes it real. "Stone pushing uphill man" became an instrumental album on which Gilbert uses his guitar to interpret the vocal lines from songs that accompanied him during his life. 

That means that we will find mainly cover versions on the album. But they have a new appeal. On none of the tracks Gilbert went too far away from the original version. I think this is good, because it keeps the basic spirit of the tune and helps to recognise it too. 

The start couldn't be more rocking than with Loverboy's smash hit "Working for the weekend". But also the soulful version of James Browns "I got the feelin'", the emtional interpretation of Elton John's "Goodbye yellow brick road" and the bluesy "My girl" from Eric Camen have their charm.

Paul Gilbert has also three own songs on the album. "Shock absorber" is one of them and shows the potential the guy has. The final track on the album is the title track "Stone pushing uphill man". It's the only song with vocals and is a slow acoustic song which builds up to a cool blues anthem along the way with an extra choir part towards the end. It has a lot of soul and is a highlight on the album. And it shows that Paul Gilbert is a pretty good singer too.

"Stone pushing uphill man" became a cool, mainly instrumental album, which is very entertaining. Gilbert manages to get the emotions and expressions of the original singers into his cover versions. An endeavor which I guess wasn't very easy but he succeeded. Cool stuff - not only for guitarists.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Working for the weekend (Loverboy)
  2. Back in the saddle (Aerosmith)
  3. I got the feelin' (James Brown)
  4. Goodbye yellow brick road (Elton John)
  5. Why don't we do it in the road (The Beatles)
  6. Shock absorber
  7. Purple without all the red
  8. Murder by numbers (The Police)
  9. My girl (Eric Camen)
  10. Wash me clean (kd lang)
  11. Stone pushing uphill man

 

Label: Shrapnel Records

Genre: Rock

 

CD review PAUL GILBERT "Stone pushing uphill man"
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